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Hiking in the Dolomites is a fantastic experience, from traversing perilous rocky mountain passes to finding picturesque alpine meadows, clean lakes, and breathtakingly magnificent circuits. Although the Dolomites lack height and grandeur compared to the snowy peaks of France or the gorgeous steep-sided valleys of the Swiss Alps, this mountain range in Northern Italy is home to some of Europe’s most popular winter resorts.

This page will serve as your comprehensive guide to the Dolomites, including when is the best time to travel, where to stay, and where to go while you’re there. Nonetheless, let’s start.

How to Reach the Dolomites

Alpe di Siusi, The Dolomites

Venice (Italy) and Munich (Germany) airports are the primary international airports closest to the Dolomites. Airports at Treviso (Italy), Verona (Italy), and Innsbruck (Austria) are a few others. Traveling to Cortina, Dobbiace, Brunico, or San Candido from the airport will generally involve taking a bus or rail.

Dolomites History

The Dolomites
Deodat de Dolomieu, a French geologist who pioneered the first scientific survey of these mountains in the 18th century, inspired the region’s name. Before that time, people referred to the range as the White Mountains. By the middle of the 19th century, skilled mountaineers had scaled every central peak in the Dolomites. After this, in 1867, the Brenner Railway opened, making the Dolomites easier for tourists to reach.

Characteristics of Nature

The Dolomites are home to a wide variety of flora and animals, and although it is easy to get lost in the larger-than-life panoramas, this fact should not be forgotten. Mouflon sheep, roe deer, ibex, and chamois live on the range in huge numbers; a lynx, brown bear, or golden jackal could even appear if you’re fortunate. As if that weren’t enough, the Dolomites are also home to a wide variety of plant life; in fact, it’s claimed that twenty percent of Europe’s plant species may be found in this area alone.

There is an excellent reason why nine out of the ten mountain ranges that make up the Dolomites are protected inside national and regional parks, and the whole region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are hundreds of stunning paths in the Dolomites just waiting to be explored, and everywhere you go, you’re almost sure to encounter tranquility, stunning natural scenery, and breathtaking panoramas.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo, The Dolomites, Italy

1. Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina D'Ampezzo, The Dolomites, Italy
Cortina d’Ampezzo, known as “the gem of the Dolomites,” is an excellent base to explore the surrounding area. Many of the most popular hiking routes in the Dolomites begin near this location, including those to Lago di Braies, Lago Sorapis, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Croda do Lago, Lago Misurina, and Cinque Torri. Check out a day trip to the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski region if you’re interested in sightseeing.

2. Val Gardena

Val Gardena, The Dolomites
Val Gardena, in South Tyrol, is a stunning valley that serves as a fantastic jumping-off place for excursions into the Dolomites. Several well-known routes begin near the valley, and the valley’s cable cars and chairlifts make it easy to travel between them. Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena are the three most well-known settlements that makeup Val Gardena.

3. Val d'Ega

Val d'Ega, The Dolomites
Val d’Ega is an excellent jumping-off point for excursions into the Latemar and Rosengarten mountain ranges. This is why many mountaineering trips begin at Val d’Ega and go beyond. Seven picturesque mountain settlements make up the valley (Val d’Ega), which is serviced by a railroad and home to many camping options before venturing into the Dolomites.

4. Alta Badia

Alta Badia, The Dolomites
Alta Badia, nestled between Mount Sassonger and the Cir Mountains, is home to some of the Dolomites’ most breathtaking scenery. Several roads and paths link all of the cities in the region. Corvara and La Villa are your best bets for a low price tag in this region.

Dolomites Trails

Taking a hike in the Dolomites is like nothing else. Although the Dolomites are home to various stunning hiking routes, we’ll try to highlight 5 of the greatest in this piece.

1. A.M. Trail (Adolf Munkel)

Adolf Munkel Trail, The Dolomites
The Adolf Munkel Trail is a popular hiking route in the Dolomites because it offers access to some of the mountains’ most breathtaking scenery. The trailhead is located in Villnösstal, which is still part of Italy despite its name. There are a few campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, and local eateries along the road to Tschantschenon (yep, you’re still in Italy). This path is well-defined so that you won’t need a guide.

2. Seceda-Pieralongia

Seceda, Pieralongia, The Dolomites

Hiking from Seceda to Pieralongia involves following the circular path that links the two hill stations and will enable you to take in stunning panoramas with minimal exertion. The Seceda Cable Car terminal serves as both the beginning and finishing location. If you’re searching for a climb that won’t break your back yet offers stunning vistas and plenty of rest stops, this is the one for you.

3. Mount Sciliar (or Catinaccio)

Mount Sciliar, The Dolomites
This walk in the Dolomites is ideal if you want to get away from the crowds and experience some natural wilderness. The duration of this grand trek is measured in days. It begins at Val D’Ega, winds through the meadows, and crosses the Hirzelweg Trail before terminating in Rigufio Roda di Vael for the night. The following day, you’ll embark on a climb up one of the Dolomites’ most beautiful mountain passes, the Passo Cigolade. After another restful night at Rifugio Vajolet, the following day will be spent exploring two breathtaking passes (Passo Santner and Passo Principe).

4. Lago di Braies

Lago di raies, The Dolomites
The stunning blue waters of Lago di Braies are framed by some of the Dolomites’ most breathtaking vistas. In addition, this is the launching point for the Alta Via n.1, a hiking path that spans the eastern Dolomites and clocks in at 160 kilometers in length. If that seems too much of an undertaking, don’t worry; there’s also a lovely little route that goes all the way around the lake.

5. Cadini Di Misurina

Cadini di Misurina, The Dolomites

Cadini di Misurina is a stunning mountain range in the Veneto region of Italy. The range is well-known for its rocky peaks, which resemble Mordor from The Lord of the Rings in many ways. Even though there are many stunning paths in the range, the two most popular destinations for hikers are the tops of the two highest peaks. It’s bustling, and you’ll have to wait in line to snap photos at the first viewpoint, so we wouldn’t suggest making the trip there. The route is narrow and potentially hazardous, and the lookout is a little knoll from which you may not be able to see very far on a hazy day.

On the other hand, the alternative vantage point provides an even more pleasurable experience with breathtaking panoramas (and fewer people around).

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